Most beautiful, graceful, and ladylike (S.Beeton, 1865)
Cyclamens in the mountains of Sardinia Cyclamen in Dinaric Alps
Cyclamens are native to Mediterranean and Near East but today they are grown all around the world (Please only add images of wild-growing cyclamens to this page!
). Most of the cultivars are derived from C. persicum
which still blooms in abundance in spring all over Middle Eastern mountains.
The familiar "cycle" of the genus name refers to its round tubers, and it's widely told that the pigs love to dig them up, although there may be little truth to the story. Nonetheless herbal apothecaries of old called it panis porcinus
, i.e. swine bread (it was prescribed to treat baldness, to assist childbirth, and generally as an aphrodisiac). So when this gentle plant was first introduced into the gardens of England in XVI century, they made up a not-so-elegant English name Sowbread for it.
The backwards-pointing petals of cyclamens are sort of resembling North American shooting stars (Dodecatheon spp.
) and they were traditionally grouped together, but more recently Cyclamens were apparently reassigned to Myrsine family.